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Brand execution guidelines

Inclusion guidelines

Inclusive language and practices for communication and marketing


ASU is a welcoming and inclusive community that respects and honors people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, religious affiliations, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, ages and veteran statuses. As such, all communications and marketing materials produced by ASU should reflect this vision for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. These values are based on the ASU Charter.

Process for creating and using these guidelines

In collaboration with faculty experts, communicators, student groups and administrators across various schools, colleges and units, ASU’s Enterprise Marketing Hub is creating an inclusive language and image usage guide to provide all members of the ASU community with a foundation to build upon as terminology and cultural norms evolve. This document will be updated as the working group’s efforts continue.

These guidelines apply to all types of communication, including but not limited to websites, video, newsletters, social media, press releases, promotional materials, photography, presentations and reports.

Recommendations on how to apply these guidelines:

  • Consider story angles and coverage that reinforce the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion. 
  • Inclusion of who is in the process Consider the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion when hiring, planning focus groups, meetings and other activities.
  • Balanced outreach for inclusion in marketing and storytelling materials: 
    • Inclusion of men and women, or nonbinary individuals featured. 
    • Inclusion of people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities and religions.
    • Inclusion of people of all ages.
    • Inclusion of people of all socioeconomic statuses.
    • Inclusion of people with disabilities.
    • Inclusion of all body sizes, shapes and types.
  • Balance of how the stories and photos are stacked
    (e.g. not three top stories featuring women at the top and men at the bottom) 
  • Evaluate and summarize progress toward the goals of DEI in communications and marketing on an annual basis.
  • Accessible All websites should be accessible as defined by university standards, as outlined at
  • Without bias Check all materials for language that may be perceived as biased. Work within your team to build awareness of inherent biases and strive toward broader inclusion.
  • Visually inclusive Keep an eye on photos and video subject selections to reflect diversity, equity and inclusion in the ASU community.

Recommended resources

Associated Press guide

The AP style book does require a license to access specific recommendations. Many units have licenses to the guide. Please check with your unit to see if one is available. If you need to sign up for one, the pricing is less than $30 per year for a membership.

  • Age –
    • Guidelines related to: older adult(s), older person/people v. senior citizen, elderly; youth, boy (males younger than 18), girl (females younger than 18), infant (children through 12 months old); using figures to denote age.
  • Disabilities –
    • Guidelines related to: disabilities; referencing disability only if relevant to story;  identity-first language, person-first language; mentally disabled, intellectually disabled, developmentally disabled, autistic; considering alternative phrasing for “falls on deaf ears,” or “turned a blind eye.”
  • Gender and sexuality –
    • Guidelines related to: gender v. sex; sex reassignment, gender confirmation, transgender (adj.); asexual; bisexual; cisgender; gay, lesbian; gender non-conforming’; heterosexual (n. and adj); homosexual (adj), homosexuality (n); intersex; LGBTQ (adj.); nonbinary, pronouns (they/them/their); female (adj.); assumption-free treatment of the sexes.
  • Race and ethnicity –
    • Guidelines related to: race; referencing race only if relevant to story; antisemitism (n.) antisemitic (adj.); AAPI, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Stop AAPI Hate; Black(s) (n.), white(s) (n.), Black (adj.); dual heritage; African American; people of color (in broad references), minority (in broad references); Black Lives Matter, #BlackLivesMatter;  enslaved people v. slaves; Juneteenth; biracial, multiracial; Chicano, Latino, Latina, Hispanic;  American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous; neo-Nazism, white supremacy.


Thank you to the team working on these guidelines.

Leadership team

  • Vanessa Ruiz, Director for Diversity Initiatives and Community Engagement, Professor of Practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Juan Mundel, Director of Global Initiatives, Associate Professor, Cronkite, 
  • Delia Saenz, Chief Diversity Officer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Suzanne Wilson, Sr Media Relations Officer, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Iti Agnihotri, Elaine Armfield, Ashlee Atkins, Emily Beach, Angelique Soenarie Blair, Melissa Bordow, Anna Consie, Jenny Dupuis, Cindi Farmer, Leigh Farr, Laura Fields, Nicole Greason, Chris Hagan, Renae Hintze, Jessica Hochreiter, Katya Incle, Marcus Jones, Lindsay Kinkade, Danielle Knotts, Kymberly Levesque, Kathy Marks, Michael Miller, Shay Moser, Leah Newsom, Linda Obele, Hannah O Regan, Debbie Richmond, Lisa Robbins, Lisa Schmidtke, Kelsey Smith, Samantha Talavera and Penny Walker.